July 9 2009

Modern Warfare 2 To Keep Call Of Duty Name?

modern warfare box artWhat exactly is there to name? When you’re one of the most popular video game franchises on the market, quite a lot apparently.

In a recent survey conducted by GamePlan Insights, it was discovered that a name can mean quite a lot.  When people were asked if they recognized the brand name “Modern Warfare“, they did, but not in the numbers one suspect.  Nick Williams, head of GamePlan Insights division for OTX, told Gamasutra on June 24th that the results were pretty surprising:

Up until the beginning of May, OTX had been tracking the title as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. More specifically, we asked a representative group of gamers in the U.S. whether or not they had heard of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. At that time, approximately 40 percent of all gamers in the U.S. claimed that they had heard of this title.

However, once it became clear that Activision was positioning the title as Modern Warfare 2, OTX removed ‘Call of Duty‘ from the consumer survey, and the awareness levels dropped to 20 percent. In other words, the Call of Duty brand association essentially doubles the awareness for the game. That is quite a remarkable statistic.

He also went on to tell the web site that purchase intent was quite high for the game even without Call of Duty being in the title.

So, this leaves the question if it would be worth spinning off Modern Warfare into its own franchise, or is it too risky to remove the Call of Duty name?  Well, it seems the name debate has been resolved in the form of a picture.  Robert Bowling, a spokesman for game company Infinity Ward, posted a picture of the box art on his Twitter account today that you can see in this post. If this is the final art, which would make sense since the game is now four months from release, then the name is going to be Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Is this Earth shattering news?  No, but it certainly is an interesting case study in brand management and marketing.  What was it that was going to sell this game?  Which name was more important?  Who would have suspected that gamers would be so fickle over something as simple as a name?  All intriguing, but… is it release day, 11/10/09, yet?

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